Cohabitation Agreements

Cohabitation agreement
Legally reviewed by: Shakeela Bi

If you are going through a difficult time with your partner, Cartwright King can provide expert legal advice in relation to a cohabitation agreement from the outset to support you through any proceedings and protect the best interests of you and your children.

Our Family Law team can advise you on the issues you may face, including:

  • Property disputes
  • Applications on behalf of the children  for financial provision and accommodation under Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989
  • Child support and maintenance.

What is a Cohabitation Agreement?

Cohabitation agreements are legally binding documents that set out what happens to any assets in the event of a separation or divorce. It can also cover matters regarding debt payments, mortgage payments and who will be responsible for ongoing household bills after a split.

We can support our clients both locally and nationwide with any of their family law matters.

The Legal Rights of Cohabiting Couples

If you are living with your partner but you are not married to them, or you are in a civil partnership, you are legally defined to be a ‘cohabiting couple.’ An unmarried cohabiting couple sometimes assumes that living together for a set amount of years will allow them the same or similar legal rights as married couples, but this is not the case.

As a cohabiting couple, you need to be aware that during any legal proceedings that followed a separation, courts would not take into account the length of time you and your partner have cohabited together.

Getting a Cohabitation Agreement

When moving in with a partner, we always advise unmarried couples to put a cohabitation agreement in place. This is a legally binding document signed by both partners that give them similar rights to a married couple.

Within the agreement, the couple agrees on what will happen if they break up. Depending on the personal circumstances, the agreement states what will happen about things like the family home, financial support, child maintenance and any shared debts.

Buying a Property Together as Unmarried Partners

When you choose to buy a property together you and your partner must agree on what would happen if your relationship did end. You would need to arrange who would stay, or if the property should be sold. It doesn’t matter if you own the property in equal or unequal shares. Each share should always be clearly defined in legal documentation that you can refer back to if necessary.

In some cases, one person may wish to purchase the other’s share. Clear guidelines as to what rights each person has could significantly simplify this situation.

You may also need to discuss the amount of deposit paid when the property was purchased, since your contribution may have been different. Without cohabitation or other financial documents in place, it will most likely be evenly split.

The agreement can be set out when you are first moving in with your partner, or when you have already been living together for several years.

We can help you throughout the process of drafting and finalising a cohabitation agreement, making sure that everything is clear to you.

Free Guides

Our Free Guides give a helpful, brief outline of how to deal with these issues:

Cartwright King is a well recognised specialist in Family Law and its members have been recognised in Legal 500, and we combine sharp negotiation skills and technical excellence with a deep understanding of your case — providing a service that is professional, straightforward and tailored to your requirements.

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